We all know it’s important to keep clients happy. A good relationship means your clients will talk about you in a positive light and refer you to other companies. However, I think it’s often ignored that it’s just as important to be a good client. It motivates the people working on your projects as they know their work is being appreciated. If you expect the best out of your Agency, then they need the best out of you. So, for anyone that is client side, here are some tips.
1.) Be Quick With Project Materials
This is one that personally bugs me. If there are materials or information that are necessary for a project to be completed, be quick on providing them. The longer you wait, the less time your agency has to complete the project on time. You may not realize it, but you may be causing a few poor souls to work an 80 hour week to catch up. If the materials were timely, they could’ve completed the projects in a more consistent and thought out manner.
This isn’t just helping out your agency, you’re also getting full attention on your project instead of a handful of people scurrying to complete it.
2.) Budget Recommendations Can’t Always be Trimmed Down
This is one that can be hard to grasp. If you ask your agency for an estimate for a project, keep in mind that estimate is for optimal and timely work. If you trim down the budget, not only are they trimming down resources, they’re trimming down scale. Sometimes this isn’t a huge deal, you pay slightly less and the outcome is slightly less effective. However, sometimes this can affect properly measuring results.
A great example is PPC. You need a moderate budget to start a campaign and start growing out. Otherwise, the numbers aren’t large enough to properly perform bid adjustments with confidence. Also, for several niches most of the profit in PPC comes from a small percentage of the entire prospected audience. This means a small budget limits the number of buckets you can test out, leaving you with a lower possibility of positive return.
Smaller business tend to think they can just throw a couple hundred dollars at a PPC campaign and scale up if there’s an ROI. If you try to start a PPC campaign with a couple hundred dollars, you’re most likely going to see a $0 return. There are exceptions, of course, but this needs to be kept in mind when discussing with your agency.
3.) Trust Your Agency More Than That Random Article You Read
You’ve just invested into an online marketing agency and you’ve been spending your free time reading up on this whole SEO thing. It’s fantastic that you’re showing so much interest and it will help your communication with your agency. However, keep in mind that a lot of stuff online (no matter what industry) is complete crap.
If you’re constantly questioning or resisting your agency, you’re limiting their efforts. Depending on the situation, you can even make them hesitant to expand into new channels. This can cause them to steer towards something you’ve recommended and stay in that bubble in order to keep you happy.
If you’re especially concerned about your agency’s efforts, get a second opinion from a professional. They’ll be able to evaluate and give you an unbiased opinion.
Note: Not to overcomplicate things, but if you get a second opinion, make sure it’s not someone trying to take you on as a client for themselves.
4.) Don’t Expect Concrete Results From Organic Methods
- “How long will it take to rank #1 in search if we spend X amount of dollars a month on SEO”
- “How many links will we get from promoting an infographic”
- “How many unique visitors can we expect from starting a blog”
While all these are great questions, there is no exact answer. That being said, you should never expect exact results. When you start to push for exact numbers, you can pressure your agency into using lower grade tactics to “top off” their numbers and reach a goal.
I see this a lot in link building especially. If they’re expected to fulfill a number, they will use good quality tactics to aim for that number; and if they fall short by the time reporting comes around, they’ll use a link vendor for the last few.
Instead try to aim for a range and balance it out each month. If numbers are a little low one month, aim for a higher number next month. This way the report isn’t considered “incomplete” until the numbers are fulfilled, which eventually causes them to be late. Now not only do you have a happy agency, but also timely reporting!
5.) You Can’t Always Expect Immediate Results
This is a common occurrence for business owners who are new to investing in agencies for ongoing efforts. If you’re taking the leap and hiring an agency for a long term project, you should commit to at least six months. It can take time for real results to come to fruition, especially when there’s a lot of planning and strategizing to go through.
Make sure you discuss what you can expect at what time with your agency. That way you have an idea of a timeline before committing to anything. That way there are no surprises and your agency can focus on the project.
6.) Good Communication
This is important in a variety of situations. If there’s even a hint of a change that could relate to a project your agency is working on, inform them.
Here are some examples:
- If you’re working with an SEO agency and you’re redesigning your site, tell them before it’s done. They’ll need to look at the design and functionality to make sure everything is working appropriately. Otherwise you could end up with either a site that needs rebuilt, or a site that is lacking on the SEO front.
- If an agency is designing your site, make sure you’re happy with it before you agree to it. Once they start building it a “simple redesign” can mean they have to start over. Any changes you may come up with after development starts needs to be mentioned immediately.
- If you have a question, suggestion, or update, be very clear in your email. Re-read it and make sure that it would be understandable from an outside party. This is primarily important if you’re not quick at responding to emails, because if your agency has to ask a question and you respond days later, things can get delayed.
- Regarding the above, respond quickly to calls or emails! For example, if a meeting gets cancelled and you only check your email or phone messages once a day, it’ll cause confusion and wasted time.
7.) Remember, You’re Not Always Right
You may want things to look one way or act another, because that’s how you like it. Owning a successful business doesn’t mean that you’re opinion is right in an unrelated field. You should be willing to accept your agencies suggestions even if it doesn’t make total sense to you.
If you DO suggest something, because you’re certain it will work; remember that it’s not what your agency suggested. This means if you change a design on a page and it performs poorly, it’s not necessarily your agency’s fault. Granted, it very well could be, but you can’t know for sure.
If you’re having an especially hard time wrapping your head around a suggestion your agency is making, get a second opinion from someone in that field. This does not mean get an opinion from your sister’s, husband’s, friend who does something loosely related.
8.) Timely Payment
Obviously, no one likes getting paid late. It’s not a huge deal if it’s a week. If it’s a few months? It can cause a lack of care on your agency’s part, because they’re basically working for free. When it’s an especially long time they can also begin to worry if they’re going to get paid at all.
Late payments can also cause work delays. For example, a link building agency may not start your next month of link building until they receive payment. If you’re a week late every month for four months, eventually you’ll be a month behind schedule.
Make sure you start any new agency relationship with some trust. Be very timely with your payments the first few times, that way if there is a delay for any reason, it’s not a big deal. They’ll continue work without delays and give you the benefit of the doubt. However, this doesn’t mean you can make a habit of being late after being on time.
Remember that the people working at your agency are just as human as your are. As cheesy as it sounds, give them the same that you would expect if you were in their position.